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Finding the Right Diabetes Support Groups

Sometimes a person with diabetes can feel very alone and “different.”  Support groups are important and helpful to people with diabetes, because they provide a venue to meet others who share similar medical and psychosocial concerns, according to Marilyn Ritholz, Ph.D., Licensed Staff Psychologist, at Joslin Diabetes Center. 

By meeting with others who have diabetes, you can feel that the members of the group can understand your experience firsthand.  By sharing their experiences, group members can feel part of a community and gain a greater sense of value and power from this feeling of belonging.

Diabetes Support Groups at Joslin

Joslin offers different types of diabetes support groups.  Some of these groups include:

  • Women’s Diabetes Support Group- “We have found that women of different ages are facing specific issues.  Therefore, the group provides a venue for discussion of particular concerns for women with diabetes,” Ritholz says.  For example, Joslin is now running a women’s group for ages 21-35 years old that have type 1 diabetes and are facing concerns regarding diabetes management, acceptance of diabetes, relationships, and consideration of pregnancy.
  • Couples Support Group- These groups only meet once and have couples share concerns and discuss what it’s like to live with diabetes in a relationship.  “Both the person with diabetes and the significant other get support and understanding of diabetes from different perspectives.”

Joslin offers other diabetes support groups, such as coping with diabetes, men’s age-based support groups, young and middle-aged women’s diabetes support group, and a Latino support group.

There are also support groups available for children with diabetes and their parents.  Each program includes supervised group activities for children and young siblings led by a certified Child Life Specialist, while parents meet in a separate group discussion led by a family support specialist and a pediatric diabetes medical specialist.

What Diabetes Support Group is Right for You?

In order to decide which diabetes support group is best for you, speak with the person running the group.

  • Inquire about the person’s credentials, how he or she sees the purpose of the group, and how it will be run.
  • Make a list of what you want to get from the group.
  • Ask specific questions with regard to your goals and purposes.

To make an appointment with someone on the Joslin Mental Health staff, please call (617) 732-2594.

Page last updated: September 01, 2014